Feel like a scenic Sunday drive? Want to end up somewhere super pretty and eat seriously good food paired with lovely wine and not end up with a hole in your pocket? Call The Red Table at Nederburg Estate in Paarl right now. Don’t think, just do it.
I drove out there the other day for a lunch darling Clouds and it was medicine for my soul, I tell you. I was so stressed out, what with all my end of year deadlines, that I nearly cancelled, but by the time I stepped foot into the restaurant’s tranquil garden I’d already forgotten about them.
The restaurant’s set in the Nederburg manor but spills out onto the patio that overlooks the lawn, a mountain range and Nederburg’s vineyards. The look and feel is elegant yet quirky, the service is top notch and the bistro-style food is simply delish.
After popping the cork on a bottle of Nederburg Premiere Cuvee Brut NV (lovely! And a real steal at R69 per bottle), Clouds and I got stuck into a yummy complimentary garlic-riddled hummus with grilled flat bread. I tried so hard not to fill up on bread but it really was just too good to resist.
Next, we decided to start with the brie, roasted wild mushroom and caramelised onion tart (R50) and duck confit salad with spinach, roasted beetroot and orange segments (R60). While the tart was nice enough, the divalicous duck salad totally stole the show with melt-in-your mouth meat that wasn’t fatty in the least and fresh flavours that schmingled together perfectly.
While we ordered from the a la carte menu that day (a set menu is also available), when it came to mains, we decided to share two specials of the day that weren’t mentioned on the menu; the yellow tail and Asian glazed pork belly. While the fish was lovely and moist, the pork belly totally stole the show in that it was crispy, sticky and evil (but in the best way possible.) The gravy was the kind of thing you’d merrily stab someone in the hand with a fork over and the crispy potato wedges on a sweet potato puree were utterly divine.
As far as le vino goes, we were lucky to have Nederburg’s red wine maker, the charming Wilhelm Pienaar, stop by to help us find good pairings. We wanted to try wine’s from Nederburg’s newish easy drinking Heritage Anthology so he suggested The Anchorman, an ever so slightly sweet golden Chenin Blanc with ripe apricot, orange and floral characters, to match up with the pork and The Young Airhawk, a wooded Sauvignon Blanc, to compliment the fish (R39 per glass).
Out of the two, I was most taken with The Young Airhawk.
While it’s all about citrus zing, fig and asparagus, to me, it tasted fresh and light, crisp and clean. (If it had to reincarnate as a perfume, it would be something cool and invigorating like a grassy, vetiver-focused cologne. Terre d’Hermes, perhaps?) Either way, as the day was so incredibly, ridiculously hot, it went down like a treat and is something I’ll be looking out for on the shelves next time I hit the shops.
Oh! And here I am almost forgetting about dessert… While Clouds was completely stuffed, I have a separate stomach for pudding and opted for the bruleed lemon tart served with a mini strawberry milkshake (R35).
I promised to leave Clouds a bite but by the time she came back from the ladies I’d hoovered up every last scrap; was that good (and I’m that kak a friend). I loved that the tart lemon curd was refreshing and light while the milkshake (which was more of a lovely strawberry smoothie) was frothy, foamy and sweet.
Anyway, like I said, if you’re looking to escape the city and enjoy a delicious lunch in a beautiful, relaxing setting, Nederburg’s The Red Table has to sit high on your to do list. I know I’ll be going back soon.
P.S. Got kids? The Red Table’s child friendly too in that they’ve got a kiddies menu and swings on the lawn so the little ones can scream and run and drool all over the grass while mommy sips champagne…